Upselling: New Strategies Needed For Informed Buyers

BY Jessica Helinski
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Upselling is an art, and it can be hard to do well without annoying the customer. It’s especially tough in the age of the internet, when customers empower themselves by doing their own research online. No longer do customer need to rely on the word of the salesperson about possible upgrades or add-​ons. Encountering the customer at this point in the process, it’s the job of the salesperson to read the situation and evaluate the customer’s true level of confidence in the decisions already made from online research,” explains Scott Webb in AQUA Magazine. You can sway the customer, but you must attempt to do so thoughtfully.

Old techniques won't work

For example, Webb shares insights from experienced spa retailer Dan Boelhauf who points out that one issue salespeople should overcome is the tendency to be pushy. Aggressively trying to upsell usually accomplishes only one thing: Turning the customer away. “[Being pushy] has turned off a lot of people,” Boelhauf says, “that old way of doing business where you use pressure and haggle and negotiate. And I think it’s unnecessary; nowadays I see more people who are ready to spend the money if they believe the product is good.”

Today's sellers need an updated approach

What can a salesperson do instead? Reconsider how they approach the upsell. One tactic is to take the customer past the initial buying and honeymoon stages to six months or longer down the road. Help the customer envision using the product in the future and paint a picture how a particular add-​on product or service could really improve their future satisfaction even more. Boelhauf specifically addresses the potential to be regretful about not making the purchase., pointing out, “…We’ve all done that. We have a price range going in, and we stick to it, but later we say to ourselves, ‘I should have just gotten that extra thing that was a few dollars more.’”

Salespeople must rethink their upsell strategies if they want to get buyers to add more to their purchase. Old-​school methods just won’t work on today’s customers who are already educated before they even see a salesperson.